Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Green Books Campaign: A Year in the Woods

This review is part of the Green Books campaign.Today 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco- friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.

The campaign is organized for the second time by Eco-Libris, a green company working to make reading more sustainable. We invite you to join the discussion on "green" books and support books printed in an eco-friendly manner! A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website.
 
A Year in the Woods by Colin Elford is published by Hamish Hamilton (an imprint of Penguin Books) on paper certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council. You can read more about Penguin's commitment to the environment here. The book is a lovely looking hardback in a smallish format with the pages printed on a nice paper.
 
The book is a diary of Elford's working life as a forest ranger on the Dorset / Wiltshire border. It appealed to me because of my voluntary work with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust where once a week I patrol an area of woodland along the river, recording wildlife, picking litter and keeping an eye out for pollution and other issues. Of course Elford's work is much more demanding and seems to take over his whole life, he is often found working late into the night or setting out before dawn into the forest. His tasks are also more wide ranging than I undertake as a volunteer, in fact one of his main tasks is to cull deer. In fact this leads to my one complaint about the book. Too much emphasis on the shooting! I definitely got the feeling that the book is aimed at the outdoor sports fan rather than the naturalist. I understand the need for culling populations of deer, they have no natural predators in the UK since we wiped out all the big carnivores that used to roam our countryside. However, I felt that the narrative could have been a bit less biased towards the hunting.
 
Having said that the book is fascinating. Elford obviously knows his patch of woodland intimately and makes  wonderfully detailed observations of the natural wonders around him.
 
Bobbing and swerving, the owl heads over some young pine. While one crow carries on the chase, the other soars skywards, then suddenly and violently stoops at the tawny; the owl crumples like an airborne mass of feathers, the force pushing  the bird deep into the pine tops, causing a massive burst of pine pollen.
 
It's the detail of the burst of pine pollen that is so interesting here, how many of us would notice that or recognise it for what it is?
 
This book gives a fascinating and personal insight into how our forests (and deer populations) are managed.

Disclaimer - I received a free copy of this book as part of the Green Books Campaign.

14 comments:

Julie Gibbons said...

"setting out before dawn into the forest" ... now that's what I call a job ;)

I'm not sure I'd want to read about the culling of the deer, either... Bambi does stay with you forever. Sentimental, I know, and I'm glad I get to gaze upon our local deer in wonder without worrying about having to perform any management of them!

Tiffany said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the book! Thanks for the review ( : This is my first year as part of this campaign and I hope to be able to take part every year!

EG Wow said...

Interesting review, Juliet. I think there must be better solutions for managing the deer population. I'm not a fan of guns for any reason.

naida said...

this sounds like an interesting book, great review!

http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/

Serena said...

I love books that provide a detailed account of someone's job, especially when they work with the environment. Great review.

Just popping over from my own green books review.

gabriellebryden said...

Thanks for the review. I wanted to be a wildlife ranger but I wouldn't do it if you had to shoot deer.

readerbuzz said...

My daughter-in-law is considering becoming a ranger, so this is a book she would love to read. I'll pass along the suggestion to her.

I'd love to have you stop by and take a look at the Green book I'm reviewing. http://readerbuzz.blogspot.com/2010/11/green-books-campaign-stuff-reduce-reuse.html

Kay said...

wonderful idea..I haven't visited for months..so glad you are here

Ali said...

I always admire people with outdoorsy jobs like that. I love being out in the woods, but I like to choose my weather for hanging around outside!

Koala Bear Writer said...

Did this book remind you of Henry David Thoreau? I recently read one of his essays and the part that you quotes sounds like Thoreau. Interesting book.

Carin B. said...

Sounds like an interesting book. I know culling of populations is difficult to read about, but it's a big part of wildlife conservation. I temp'd at the Colorado Division of Wildlife and hunting seasons were a big part of what they did. It was actually interesting because depending on what animal the hunter killed, they had to bring in the meat, the skull, or something else. It's all about population heath which I'm sure was all in the book. It's just a major part of the job I think.

Glad you enjoyed the book! This was a great campaign to participate in.

My review can be found HERE.

Jennifer @ Quiverfull Family said...

Sounds well written, and your volunteer position sounds interesting as well!

From another Green book reviewer :).

Crafty Green Poet said...

Carin, oh I know it needs to be done, and I know its a major part of the job, but given the size of the book it felt like perhaps it was even so overemphasised...

Stephanie @ Read In a Single Sitting said...

Sounds fascinating, although I would definitely prefer less of an emphasis on the hunting side of things and more on the nature side instead! But like the book that I read for this campaign, it's interesting to get an insight into the lives of people working in these areas.